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Study links sleep disorder to spinal cord injuries

Many West Virginians know what it is like to experience aches and pains in their back. In fact, data from the Mayo Clinic suggests that roughly 80% of all Americans suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives. While everyday life may contribute to back pain, in one form or another, some people suffer devastating accidents that lead to serious spinal cord injuries.

Whether the spinal cord injury is the result of a car accident, workplace accident or any other cause, damage to the spinal cord can have catastrophic consequences to a person's life. People with spinal cord injuries often have to go through their lives dealing with paralysis or other forms of permanent disability. In addition, spinal cord injuries can lead to other irritating effects.

According to a recent study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, a high percentage of people with spinal cord injuries have sleep-disordered breathing, also known as sleep apnea. While the study only involved a small number of patients, doctors reported that 77 percent of the participants suffered from sleep apnea, and 92 percent of the participants had poor sleep quality.

One of the doctors who conducted the study was hopeful that their findings might lead to the development of new treatments.

It is encouraging that doctors and researchers continue to study problems associated with spinal cord injuries. Unfortunately, however, most spinal cord patients may never fully recover from their injuries.

When an accident leads to an overwhelming disability, medical bills and other expenses begin to pile up quickly. Victims should understand their legal options for recovering monetary damages from any party who may have contributed to their injury.

Source: Huffington Post, "Sleep Apnea Common Among Spinal Cord Injury Patients: Study," Jan. 16, 2014

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